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President Biden Removes Immigrant Visa Ban, Leaves Other Immigration Bans in Place (US)

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, President Biden issued a Proclamation removing one of the few remaining major Trump COVID-era Visa Bans. The move repeals Presidential Proclamation 10014, which was set to expire after March 31, 2021, and temporarily paused the issuance of immigrant visas.  President Biden justified the action by explaining that the ban “harms … Continue Reading

H-1B Cap Season Opens March 9: Random Cap Registration Selection Returns For FY2022 (US)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 9 and run through noon Eastern on March 25, 2021.  USCIS intends to notify selected registrants by March 31st and permit filings from April 1, 2021.… Continue Reading

President Signs Three Executive Orders Seeking Broad Changes to US Immigration Policies; Administration Delays Changes to H-1B Cap Lottery

The following is a summary of the President’s three new immigration-related executive orders issued on February 2, 2021: Executive Order on the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families The first executive order creates an interagency task force, presided by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to reunify parents and children separated by … Continue Reading

Biden Immigration Activity on Day One: Taking Down the Walls (US)

With the stroke of a pen, President Biden immediately commenced the deconstruction of the Southern Border wall and several other immigration policies of the prior administration, including the pre-Covid travel bans. Here is a summary of the President’s immigration-related executive actions issued during his first days in office. Revoking the Pre-Covid Travel Bans Entitled Presidential … Continue Reading

DHS Doubles Down On H-1Bs: Publishes Rule Implementing Wage-Based Changes to the Annual H-1B Lottery (US)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Final Rule, which, if left intact, will implement major changes to the H-1B visa program. The new rule would do away with the random lottery system currently used to issue the annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B visas and replace it with a selection system weighted to … Continue Reading

President Trump Extends his Visa “Pause” Through March 2021 (US)

Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 have been extended through March 31, 2021.  The two proclamations, which suspend U.S. entry and visa issuance for many immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants outside the U.S., were set to end after December 31, 2020.  Possible extensions were the subject of internal deliberations at the White House leading up to … Continue Reading

Feeling Lucky?: DHS Proposes Wage-Based Changes to its Annual H-1B Lottery (US)

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced another proposed change to the H-1B visa program.  The new rule would do away with the random lottery system currently used to issue the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B visas and replace it with a new lottery system weighted to favor applications with … Continue Reading

US Immigration Update: Must Be the Season of the Witch

It’s been a frenetic October and we’re still in the first week. Here is a quick summary of significant developments in U.S. Immigration just within the past few days. Federal District Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Halting Implementation of Nonimmigrant Visa Ban On October 1, 2020 Judge Jeffrey S. White of the District Court for the … Continue Reading

DHS Finalizes a New Fee Schedule to Take Effect on October 2, 2020 (US)

The Final Rule   A final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020, which considerably increases USCIS’ fees and makes other changes to immigration benefits. DHS originally announced a proposed rule in November 2019; however, the final rule differs in certain aspects from the original proposal. Under the final rule, the fee … Continue Reading

Unpacking National Interest Exception Requirements to Recent Presidential Proclamations Suspending Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants: Hoops and Hurdles Remain (US)

On August 12, 2020, the U.S. State Department issued new guidance (“State Department Guidance”) on parameters for National Interest Exceptions to Presidential Proclamation 10052. As our previous post outlined, Proclamation 10052 suspended U.S. entry for certain nonimmigrants on H-1B (specialty occupation), H-2B (temporary workers), L-1 (intracompany transferees), and J-1 (exchange visitors participating in the intern, … Continue Reading

Executive Order Sets Stage for Restrictions on Government Contractor Visas and Offshoring (US)

On August 3, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order (“Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers” hereafter “Executive Order”) calling for a broad review of the government’s use of visa holders and outsourcing across its extensive government contracting networks. The White House announced that the Executive Order is, at … Continue Reading

An Extended Pause: New Presidential Proclamation Halts US Entry for Thousands of Workers

As expected, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation (“Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak” hereafter “Nonimmigrant Proclamation”) extending the duration of his prior suspension of immigrant visas (for those entering the U.S. permanently) and … Continue Reading

DHS Extends Flexibility Relating to I-9 Execution for Remote Workers While Increasing Civil Penalties for Violations (US)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced another extension, through July 19, 2020, of its COVID-19 temporary policy of deferring the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 compliance in relation to hiring and re-verifying certain remote employees.  However, within days of announcing this reprieve for employers, DHS … Continue Reading

Dreamer Deferred: The Supreme Court DACA Ruling’s Effect on Employers (US)

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fell short of the legal requirements for ending such a broad executive program.  The Court held that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) effort to terminate DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and … Continue Reading

USCIS Premium Processing Service Returns for Certain Petitions in Different Stages (US)

USCIS announced on May 29, 2020 that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in stages during the month of June. Premium Processing Service has been suspended since March 20, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Premium processing provides expedited processing … Continue Reading

U.S. Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Students and Researchers from People’s Republic of China

On May 29, 2020, the President issued a proclamation blocking certain nationals of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) from entering the United States in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status in order to study or conduct research. The proclamation takes effect on June 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm (EDT) and remains in effect until terminated … Continue Reading

White House Expands COVID-19 Travel Ban to Cover Brazil (US)

The Trump administration announced an expansion of its COVID-19 travel ban to include those seeking to enter the U.S. from Brazil.  The new Proclamation issued on Sunday, May 24, 2020, bars all non-U.S. citizens who have been physically present in Brazil during the 14-day period prior to entering or attempting to enter the United States. … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Immigration Pause: How Will President Trump’s New Immigration Suspension Affect US Employers?

Two days after teasing a temporary halt to US immigration, on April 22, 2020, President Trump issued the first of what may be multiple Presidential Proclamations aimed at stemming US immigration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proclamation, which is more limited than many expected, centers on a 60-day US entry ban for certain … Continue Reading

USCIS Temporarily Suspends In-Person Services Due To Its COVID-19 Response (US)

USCIS has suspended in-person services from March 18, 2020, until at least April 1, 2020, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. During this period, the agency will not conduct in-person adjustment of status or naturalization interviews, naturalization ceremonies, or Application Support Center biometrics appointments. USCIS field offices will send cancellation notices to applicants with … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Outbreak U.S. Travel Ban Update: UK and Republic of Ireland Added

Just three days after issuing a Proclamation expanding the scope of the temporary travel (entry) bans, due to the global outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), which restricted entry and travel to the United States of foreign nationals (immigrants or nonimmigrants) who were physically present within the European Schengen Area, President Trump’s Proclamation now includes … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Outbreak US Travel Ban Expanded To Include Europe Schengen Area

President Trump has issued another Presidential Proclamation expanding the scope of two previously issued travel bans suspending entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States, subject to certain exceptions detailed below, due to the global outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also referred to the as the coronavirus disease 2019 or“COVID-19”). This Proclamation, entitled, Suspension … Continue Reading

Employer Update: DHS Issues New Form I-9 with Mandatory Use by May 1, 2020 (US)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) recently issued a new version of its Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which is used to verify the employment authorization and identity for all employees in the United States. Although employers may now begin to use the new version, which has a 10/21/2019 version date on the bottom, … Continue Reading

DHS New Fee Schedule and Other Changes Proposal (US)

The Proposed Rule On November 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of a proposed rule that will considerably alter the fees associated with US filings and immigration benefits. The proposal also includes significant changes to some of the immigration forms published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). DHS … Continue Reading

H-1B Cap Registration: USCIS Says It’s On For 2020 (US)

On December 6, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed pilot testing and is implementing the long-anticipated electronic registration tool for the next H-1B lottery of fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B visas. In its announcement, USCIS indicated that the initial H-1B cap registration period will run from March 1, 2020 … Continue Reading
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